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FPAA members elect new board members, honor Member of the Year

The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas held its annual membership meeting May 7 in Nogales, AZ. This year’s meeting had several significant highlights:

  • Jaime Chamberlain of J-C Distributing Inc. received the FPAA Member of the Year Award.
  • A slate of seven distributor board directors and two associate board directors was elected by the membership.
  • Members discussed several issues and opportunities for the coming year, including steps to increase port staffing, the continued expansion of the Mariposa Port, FDA-proposed regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act and member trips to meet with officials in Mexico City and Washington, DC.

MOY-2Jaime Chamberlain of J-C Distributing accepting FPAA Member of the Year Award with Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president.Alejandro Canelos of Apache Produce Imports in Nogales has one year remaining as the chairman of the FPAA board. Mr. Canelos leads delegation trips to meet with political leaders and government officials both in the United States and Mexico, and he has been a key part of strengthening relationships with state and federal officials that affect the FPAA’s members.

Matt Mandel of SunFed continues as chairman-elect and will step into the role of chairman of the FPAA board in 2014. Mr. Mandel had served on the board for several years prior to becoming chairman-elect in 2012, and he continues to serve as a spokesman for the industry at meetings both in Phoenix and Washington, DC. In addition, Mr. Mandel was recently appointed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as a member of Arizona’s Rural Business Development Advisory Council.

Mr. Canelos said, “The annual meeting is an important event for our association each year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for attending. I am honored to be the chairman of the association, and I strongly believe in the work that we are doing. I have learned so much, and more importantly, I have had the opportunity to get to know all of you better as chairman.”

Mr. Canelos also thanked the FPAA members for their continued involvement in the FPAA and thanked FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer and the staff for the work they do on behalf of the members.   

Mr. Jungmeyer presented Mr. Chamberlain with the 2013 Member of the Year Award.  In his remarks, Mr. Jungmeyer said, “During the tomato conflict, Jaime Chamberlain stepped up to the plate numerous times for media requests. He was featured on NPR, Arizona television stations and major national newspapers. He helped bring home the impact on U.S. business during this very important debate on trade.”

When accepting his award, Mr. Chamberlain said, “All of the things I do, talking to the press, attending meetings with elected officials, advocating for increased trade between the U.S. and Mexico, I do on behalf of our industry.  It is so great to see so many of you in this room, my competitors and my closest friends.  We must continue to work together to bring real, tangible benefits to our companies and our employees.” 

The meeting concluded with the election of seven distributor directors and two associate directors to the FPAA board and the election of a new FPAA Tomato Division chairman.  The following members were re-elected to a two-year term on the board:  Gonzalo Avila of Malena Produce; Walter Ram of The Giumarra Cos.; Brent Harrison of Al Harrison Co. Distributors; and Scott Vandervoet of Vandervoet & Associates Inc.

Chris Ciruli of Ciruli Brothers, Atanasio Panousopoulos of Delta Fresh LLC and JJ Badillo of Calavo Growers Inc. were all elected as new distributor board members for a two-year term. 

Sabrina Hallman of Sierra Seed Company LLLP was re-elected to a one-year term as an associate member director, and Rosie Cornelius of Bay Area Produce was newly elected for a one-year term as an associate member director.  

The following FPAA members were presented with awards of appreciation upon completion of their two-year terms on the FPAA board: Greg Cardamone of L&M Cos.; Miguel Suarez of MAS Melons & Grapes; Jerry Havel of Fresh Farms; and Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce. 

In addition the FPAA members elected a new chairman of the Tomato Division.  In addition to his new board seat, Mr. Badillo will step in as chairman of the tomato division, replacing Mr. Canelos who had held the seat for the past several seasons.